MagicDesk / Pixabay

The list of the biggest dangers to information security are long for 2019, and ever-evolving. A 2019 list developed by the Information Security Forum highlighted ransomware hijacking IoT, premeditated internet outages disrupting trade and privileged insiders being coerced into giving up their companies’ critical data as some of the top threats. The recent publication of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) zeroes in on the escalating danger of insider threats, adding to the mountain of research and incidents bumping this discussion back up to boardrooms as their businesses’ bottom lines become more vulnerable from the potential impact of an insider threat causing a data breach, stolen intellectual property and other risks.

As companies evolve to combat these threats, the report also dives into an understanding of the “why” behind the actors. As Information Security Buzz reports, the top motivators for insider threat perpetrators were financial gain, and surprisingly, “pure fun” in a malicious sense:

“Twenty percent of cybersecurity incidents and 15 percent of the data breaches investigated within the Verizon 2018 DBIR originated from people within the organization, with financial gain (47.8 percent) and pure fun (23.4 percent) being the top motivators. These attacks, which exploit internal data and system access privileges, are often only found months or years after they take place, making their potential impact on a business significant.”

A report like the annual publication by Verizon is another glaring reminder for companies to double down on efforts to have a chance at staying ahead of a bottom line-impacting threat, as a lead author of the report effectively summarizes with this commentary:

“For far too long data breaches and cybersecurity incidents caused by insiders have been pushed aside and not taken seriously. Often they are treated as an embarrassment or just an issue for Human Resource departments,” commented Bryan Sartin, executive director security professional services, Verizon. “This has to change. Cyber threats do not just originate from external sources, and to fight cybercrime in its entirety we also need to focus on the threats that lie within an organization’s walls.”

Companies identifying insider threats as a critical risk they need to mitigate are doing so by investing in training, employee monitoring and DLP software.

This piece was originally published on IT Security Central and reprinted with permission.